What Happened When I Finally Had A Manager Who Trusted Me

There’s nothing that can defeat your confidence more than a manager that breathes down your neck.

At one of the talent agencies I worked at as an assistant, I had it even worse.

I joined the company with solid assistant skills and one year of experience under my belt. I hadn’t been promoted to a position higher than assistant, so when I started, I trusted myself to perform my role with no problem.

But I didn’t foresee that my manager would completely undermine that confidence in every way, until I ultimately quit the company as well as my dream to become a talent agent.

I won’t go into detail about what made her such a bad boss, but I will say that her reaction to my mistakes made my doubt my abilities. The more upset she got with me, the more responsibilities she took away from me. My confidence was shot, and I quit after three miserable months.

We’ve all had a bad boss. But what does trust have to do with it?

After a brief period of unemployment, I found myself working in a completely different position at a startup.

I was on a small team with a manager that was only a couple years older than me. I wasn’t her assistant. Instead my role was project-based and I had more independence than I knew what to do with.

Having independence is empowering. If your boss trusts you, has confidence in you, AND gives you the space to grow, you feel empowered to deliver more than what’s asked of you.

That’s exactly what happened to me.

There are a few takeaways from my story that show how trust is a win for everyone on your team.

Trust is a foundation on which roles can grow.

Do you want your staff to show initiative? Give them the space necessary for it.

Once my boss saw that I had a very strong grasp of my role, she welcomed my ideas to expand it. I was encouraged to experiment and find ways to make my role more valuable to the company.

If my boss didn’t trust me, she would have never let me take ideas and run with them. Without the trust, employees will feel as though they aren’t doing their job well enough, let alone feel confident to take initiative to do more.

Trust inspires happiness.

At my startup job, I had a healthy relationship with my boss — something I hadn’t had before. We were able to become friends and there was no tension. In the past, I used to avoid my bosses. Every email from a boss would make my heart stop, thinking I did something wrong. The trust that my manager (as well as her managers) had in me never made me feel that way.

For once, I was happy at my job. I looked forward to every day. I tracked my own progress and owned up to any mistakes, instead of running from them, because I wasn’t worried that one single mistake would cost me my job.

When your employees feel trusted, they feel safe. They will be much happier at work, and probably more productive. In the absence of trust, there’s fear and resentment.

Trust makes the harder conversations easier.

In our careers, hard conversations are going to happen at work. They’re inevitable, especially in startup environments where things are changing constantly.

During my one year at the startup, the company went through several changes. At one point, my boss was moved to a different department, and my role was eliminated altogether. But the trust between my supervisors and me made those conversations and transitions much easier.

Trust is truly a two-way street. When trust is low, morale is low. When staff don’t trust their supervisors, they’re unhappy. When supervisors don’t trust their staff, they’re stressed.

Now, I’m a freelancer and don’t have a boss, but I have my own clients and that trust is equally as important.

No matter what type of business you’re in, trust is the foundation necessary for success in all aspects.

In the past, we’ve talked about how especially for people-centric businesses, trust is at the very core.

In this post, you received a personal story from me about how trust not only made me happier at work, but also allowed me to take initiative to become more valuable to the company.

If you want to learn how to build trust right away with your team, check out our post here that breaks it down.

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